Eddie Higgins: America The Beautiful

Here is another Rifftides Fourth of July tradition: Eddie Higgins (1932-2009) playing at the 2007 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. He explains his choice of melody.

Happy Independence Day

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  1. Bill Benjamin says

    Great post, Doug. I can’t count all the times I heard Eddie in Chicago at the London House and Mister Kelly’s. Those of us who grew up in Chicago and love jazz miss him.

  2. Lucille Dolab says

    Eddie’s heart comes thru so beautifully in this most touching rendition of our 2nd National Anthem! Thank you so much for these posts commemorating the 4th!

  3. Valerie Bishop says

    So wonderful to see/hear Eddie. Such a special man/talent. I’m sure Meredith receives your blogs. I went to junior high school with her and we’re still in touch!! LOL

  4. dick vartanian says

    I agree with Eddie. His playing is wonderful and that should be our national anthem. The one we have is musically among the worst in the world.

    • David says

      Supposedly, the anthem was just new words by Mr. Key set to an old English drinking song. If you think it’s painful listening to some caterwauling pop star do it at halftime, imagine a pub full of drunk limeys.

      “America the Beautiful” was also a favorite of Al Cohn, who liked to do it as a samba. A notable version appears on the album The Great Fontana.

      • Doug Ramsey says

        Cohn first recorded the song in his 1976 Xanadu album Al Cohn’s America with pianist Barry Harris, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Leroy Williams. The LP is long out of print. Used copies turn up now and then on the web. Unaccountably, this masterly album, like so many Xanadus, has never been reissued on CD.

        • Jere Lee says

          The Xanadu recording of Al Cohn was released on CD in 2008 on the Gambit label. The title has changed to Barry Harris Trio with Al Cohn, with emphasis on Harris being the main artist.

          Also, Xanadu had a Jimmy Rowles LP which included “Stars and Stripes Forever”. The CD version was released on Jazz Ball, with the title “Jimmy Rowles Trio ’77/’78.

        • Jim Brown says

          Al Cohn and Barry Harris have long been two of my VERY favorite players, and their wonderful 1976 session, released on two LPs and now in my collection on CD, currently lives in my car, where it often lifts my spirits. I think my copy says Xanadu, but I’m too lazy to go look.

          One of the great things about this session is the choice of tunes — both guys brought things to the session that the other would never think of playing, and both of them rose to the occasion. Another example of that sort of thing, by the way, is a Barry Harris/Jack Sheldon set called Playing For Change. All three are fine lyrical players who respect the Great American Songbook, Barry also blows me away with his continually evolving harmonic concept, and Al contributes his wonderful arranger’s view of things.